Jun 16, 2010 - 5:43 AM
Hi Siddharth and welcome to the forum! I'm glad you've found some useful information here. As for your questions:
1) My advice would be not to stay in Gimmelwald. It's very pretty, but can only be reached by cable car and therefore isn't a central base for day trips. Wengen is beautiful indeed, but a bit less centrally located than other spots. In summer months it's quite touristy and expensive. Both Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald are embedded in a spectacular landscape, the difference being that Grindelwald is larger, offers more facilities and is more crowded than Lauterbrunnen. Interlaken is a bit less picturesque than Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald, but a perfect central base for trips to the Jungfrau region and/or the areas surrounding lake Thun and lake Brienz. You'll have to decide for yourself which of the options appeals to you most. I wouldn't opt for Lucerne, as you plan some trips in the Jungfrau region (for example, First and Jungfraujoch) and travelling from Lucerne would take quite some time.
2) It's hard to say which of the passes is best for you, as this depends on your exact travel plans. You should calculate your trips and then find out which pass is most economical. Please follow the instructions in our rail FAQ
on this. To give some general advice: your inbound and outbound journeys are of course an important part of your plans. The trip from Basel to Grindelwald costs CHF 65.20 and the trip from Grindelwald to Domodossola (the border station where the validity of Swiss rail passes ends) costs CHF 61.20, making a total of CHF 126.40.
- a 4 day Swiss Pass wouldn't be a good option, as it wouldn't cover either your inbound trip from Basel or your outbound trip to Milan. An 8 day Swiss Pass would probably be too expensive, as you plan some short, regional trips as well;
- a Swiss Flexi Pass may be too expensive for the same reason as well. Your inbound and outbound trip would be for free, but these trips aren't even that long and expensive that you'd profit optimally from what the Swiss Flexi Pass offers. If you plan one other long trip during your stay (for which you would use the 3rd day of a 3 day Swiss Flexi Pass), the Swiss Flexi Pass might become cost effective;
- a Jungfrau Pass wouldn't allow discounts or free travel for your inbound and outbound journey, but you're correct in supposing that it does offer many discounts in the Jungfrau area. If you plan to travel in this area very extensively, and make no trips or only a few short ones outside of it, the Jungfrau Pass might come in handy. Please note that a discount instead of free travelling applies to the Jungfraujoch (but this is the case for all rail passes) and that the Schilthorn isn't covered by the pass at all;
- a Swiss Card would in fact be more expensive than a Swiss Half Fare Card, as it costs CHF 182.00 (which is more expensive than the regular costs for your inbound and outbound trip) and offers a 50% on other trips, whereas the Swiss Flexi Pass costs only CHF 99.00 and offers a 50% discount on all trips as well. So you'd pay CHF 99.00 for a Swiss Half Fare Card and CHF 63.20 for your discounted inbound and outbound trip, making a total of CHF 162.20;
- in all, you may be best off with a Swiss Half Fare Card. This turns out to be the most economical option in many cases where a few longer trips and many short, regional trips are involved. It covers both your inbound and outbound trip and other trips during your stay. But again, exact calculations should be made to be sure.
3) I'm not sure what the best solution for internet access would be in your case. Computers for guests may be available in (backpacker) hotels, but you should check this with the hotels you're interested in before departure. Internet through your cellphone might be an option as well, but you should try to find out what options for internet abroad your provider and current subscription offer. You may be able to get on the Swiss network easily, but find out that costs are very high. You could take a look at the Swisscom website
and see if they offer anything for non-residential customers. As for GP(R)S and maps: yes, having GPS and a map on your cellphone comes in handy indeed. But unless you have a very detailed hiking map on your cellphone, this won't suffice for finding your way in the mountains. Please make sure to take along an old-fashioned detailed map
when taking a hike. At least this will never fail, not even in bad weather or with poor battery levels ;-).
4) Dining out in Switzerland is a lot more expensive than cooking your own meal. But affordable options do exist! We've listed some of them on our pages on cheap travelling in Switzerland
I hope this gets your started Siddarth! Have a beautiful trip!
Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 4:35 PM by Arno